Tag: Ethnic/Minority

Planned Islamaphobic Rally Fizzles in Face of Opposition by Peaceful Mesa County Citizens

Anti-Islamaphobia rally particpants in Grand Junction today had plenty of signs indicating how they felt about an armed rally by Islam-haters that was planned for the same spot, but never materialized

Participants in Grand Junction’s Anti-Islamaphobia rally had plenty of signs indicating how they felt about an planned protest by armed Islam-haters that was supposed to be held in the same spot, but never materialized

Mesa County residents blocked an armed Islamaphobic uprising from materializing today by gathering at a Grand Junction Islamic Center with enthusiasm, lots of free cookies and plenty of big, handmade signs promoting peace, love and diversity.

Anti-Islamaphobia rally participants hold signs in Grand Junction

Anti-Islamaphobia rally participants hold signs in Grand Junction

The anti-Islamaphobia rally was held to counter the so-called “Global Rally for Humanity,” an armed protest against local Muslin residents that right-wing gun nuts had planned. Similar protests aimed at intimidating U.S. Muslims were planned in 20 cities nationally; Grand Junction’s was to be one of them.

But thanks to strong, organized opposition, the Islam-hating rally pulled it’s Facebook event announcement page and never materialized.

Waves of residents who abhorred the idea of Mesa County being known as a hotbed of Islamaphobia attended the peace rally, which went on all morning and into the early afternoon. They held up signs on I-70B stating a need for a more diverse, loving western Colorado. Many cars honked as they went by and gave a thumbs-up to the event.

RealPatriotsIn one brief incident, four right-wing Islam-haters did show up, but all they did was make some rude gestures, call the group “delusional,” take a selfie with rally participants and then leave. Otherwise the group was completely successful in blocking the planned armed demonstration of hatred against Muslims that was to take place.

Congratulations, citizens of 21st century Grand Junction. You’ve showed that the culture is at long last really changing here, and it has already changed enough that political sanity can occasionally prevail.

Wonderful Indian, Tibetan and Nepalese Restaurant on Orchard Mesa

Namaste Nepal, one of the terrific new restaurants in Grand Junction that add diversity to the cuisine available in town now

Namaste Nepal, one of the terrific new restaurants in Grand Junction that add diversity to the cuisine available in town now

Calling all local food lovers: If you haven’t tried this place yet, you should: Namaste Nepal is a new Indian, Tibetan and Nepalese cuisine place on Orchard Mesa, in the strip mall just west of the True Value Hardware. It just opened in early spring, 2015. The food is absolutely delicious, the prep extremely quick, and the owners are extremely gracious, kind and accommodating. They have a lunch buffet, too. Some of our favorite dishes so far include the lamb boti saag (lamb cubes in a creamed spinach sauce), the shrimp pakora appetizer (shrimp dipped in a garbanzo bean flour batter and deep fried), vegetable samosas (a savory pastry stuffed with lightly spiced peas and potatoes), and the onion kulcha (Indian tandoori oven bread stuffed with onions and fresh cilantro). Namaste Nepal is super-fast for take-out, invariably having orders ready in just 5-10 minutes. Easy parking right in front, too. They recently acquired some new patio furniture so you can eat outside. It’s very quick to get there from the east or west sides of town using the Riverside Parkway. To see their menu, click here. 

Grand Junction’s Growing Hate Community

This vehicle provides a sample of the hate-filled mentality of many citizens of Mesa County, Colorado

As the feds mull hate crime charges against Dylann Roof, the shooter in the June 17 massacre at a historic black South Carolina church, the presence of hatred, bigotry and intolerance is growing more evident in and around Grand Junction every day, and it’s not a comforting sight.

Remember this hate-filled, wing-nut truck spotted in Whitewater a few weeks ago?

 

The truck belongs to a local guy named “Marc” who operates a business that manufactures fake fiberglass rocks sized and shaped specifically to hide an arsenal of firearms. Marc designed the rocks to hide rifles, in particular an M4 carbine semi-automatic rifle, and according to his e-commerce website, “a butt load of ammunition.” Marc’s fake rocks come with a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution, and they sell for $925 each. Marc also makes fake, hollowed-out tree stumps designed to hide small arms, like pistols.

The front page of Marc’s e-commerce website bears a threatening “WARNING” to all potential customers. He writes,

If you…

  • Are a liberal or in anyway support the willful destruction of America by this [Obama] regime or…
  • Refuse to recognize that this “shining city on the hill” was founded on Christian principles or…
  • Regard English as your “second language” and are content to let it remain as such…

DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER PURCHASING MY PRODUCT! [MY PRODUCTS] ARE HANDCRAFTED BY PATRIOTS FOR PATRIOTS!

So right up front as part of his business plan, Marc parades his paranoia and intolerance of people with differing political opinions, religions and nationalities.  Below is a photo taken from Marc’s fake rock website, showing Marc and a friend, armed to the teeth with powerful weapons, posing along side the truck he has splattered with paranoid messages.

"Marc" proudly poses alongside his paranoid, hater truck

“Marc” proudly poses alongside his truck

What’s really troubling is that Marc is not an anomaly in the Grand Junction area. He is one of a growing number of Mesa County business owners who are “out” about the hatred and disgust they harbor towards area residents who are different from them. They revile, condemn and insult ethnic minorities, political progressives, women, people of other nationalities and religions, and people of no religion — in short, anyone who differs from them in their beliefs, physical appearance or cultural background.

Beware How Voter ID Laws are Portrayed in the News

When will media report on the fact that Voter ID laws are really designed to prevent certain voters from accessing the polls?

When will media start reporting that Voter ID laws are, in fact, designed to make it harder for certain voters to access the polls?

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) is taking the New York Times to task for portraying the attack on voting rights in the U.S. as little more than a partisan disagreement. According to the NYT, Republican-enacted laws to shorten early voting periods and force voters to show identification cards are designed to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats say such fraud is nearly non-existent and these restrictions are a Republican effort to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.

But the Times failed completely to report on the actual facts pertaining to the issue of voter fraud in the U.S.

On many occasions Republican politicians have actually admitted that voting restrictions are, in fact, aimed at disenfranchising Democrats. Additionally, no Republican has ever been able to show that any American election was stolen as a result of in-person voter fraud. Not one.

Moreover, academic studies show voter fraud is practically nonexistent in the U.S.

Law professor Justin Levitt since 2000 has tracked down and analyzed “every specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else and the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix.” He found only 31 incidents over 15 years and over more than a billion ballots cast. Most of the incidents were due to voters misunderstanding the voting eligibility rules or making mistakes filling out registration forms. Levitt concluded that “There is almost no voting fraud in America,” and “The only reason Republicans are passing these laws is to give themselves a political edge by suppressing Democratic votes.”

Despite this, the New York Times failed to state that voter restriction laws are, in fact, an ongoing effort by Republicans to disenfranchise voters and gain an electoral advantage. Rather, the paper reports on the issue as though it is merely a disagreement over the facts between Republicans and Democrats.

Source: Jim Naureckas, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, March 9, 2015, “Voting Rights Shall Not Overcome NYT Reporting Like This”

Colorado Mountain College on Energy Expo: “We are not hosts of the event”

CMCRachel Pokrandt, Dean of the Rifle Campus of Colorado Mountain College (CMC), says she didn’t know anything about the Energy Expo’s speaker program and the school is not a host of the event, despite being listed as a host on the event’s promotional materials.

“We never agreed to be a host” of the event, Pokrandt said. She says the event organizers “Really did represent us quite horribly.”

Pokrandt says CMC just has a small booth at the event, which they have rented annually for the past 10 years, to educate people about their solar, biofuels and other programs.

“We don’t want to be connected with that type of speaker,” Pokrandt said, referring to Energy Expo speaker John L. Casey, who speaks on the topic of climate science despite having no degrees in climatology and never having published any peer-reviewed research on the subject. His talks typically start out with charts, statistics and scientific claims, but by the end of his talks, he devolves into fearmongering and racist statements.

Videos posted online of Casey’s talks show him speaking before tea party groups. He says anthropogenic climate change is a scientific fraud perpetrated by the U.S. government and the United Nations. He says global warming is over, that sun entered a period of “hibernation” in 2007 and the earth is now entering a prolonged period of cooling that will lead to an increase in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Casey further says this cold phase will cause the world’s food supply to diminish and people will need to lay in a year’s supply of food and be ready to flee to the countryside and defend their food stores from urban minorities who, he says, will start beating and murdering people to get their food supplies — after government food stamp programs can no longer sustain them.

Pokrandt said that in the past, the Energy Expo and Forum has been “fairly level” in regard to balance in the types of speakers they’ve had, and between renewable and non-renewable types of energy, but that unfortunately due to the circumstances this year, CMC may have to withdraw its involvement from the event in the future.

 

Online Videos Reveal John L. Casey to be a Fearmonger and Racist

Online videos of talks by John L. Casey, the 2015 Energy Forum and Expo’s keynote speaker, reveal him stimulating fear and racism by telling audiences that in the coming cold era that will occur on Earth, minority groups in urban areas will rise up to become thieves and murderers who will try to steal your food.

In videos of his talks, mostly given to Florida tea party groups, Casey tells his audiences that anthropogenic global warming is a “widespread fraud of climate science.” He says carbon dioxide (CO2) has nothing to do with climate change, that changing climate is purely related to the sun. Casey says the sun is now in a period of “hibernation” that will lead to extreme cold that will devastate crops and result of massive food shortages globally.

One of Casey’s talks in reveals his fearmongering and cultivation of racism.

In a video published to YouTube on December 4, 2014, around minute 56, Casey tells his audience:

“After the first panic, when the shelves are cleared out…your neighbor is going to come across the street — maybe your neighbor’s wife — and say ‘sorry to come to your house’ and say there’s no bread and no milk, would you give me something because we know you have a one year food supply. What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? You’re gonna try and help of course. That’s the human thing. But at some point you’re gonna have enough neighbors lining up and at some point you’re going to have to say ‘I’m sorry we need to preserve our food for ourselves.’

Guess what happens after that point? They’ll beat you up and they’ll kill you. …Nothing is more driven than a starving person. They will do anything, especially if they have children who are starving….

Worst case, have a sanctuary away from urban areas…this may not apply too much here…but it absolutely applies if you live in Miami, New York City, or Atlanta, Georgia,…I mean, pick a major metropolitan area, especially those that are heavily minority and dependent on government food. That’s another reason we need to get rid of the food stamp program, ladies and gentlemen. We need people to be self reliant, not dependent. By making them independent and self-reliant, we give them a chance…”

“The death and destruction will be biblical in scale,” Casey tells the crowd.

See the clip here.

 

 

 

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce Clams Up, Hunkers Down in Political Storm

Op-ed

Grand Junction Area Chamber President Diane Schwenke (Photo Credit: YouTube)

Embattled Grand Junction Area Chamber President Diane Schwenke (Photo Credit: YouTube)

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is up to its ears in alligators, and its best proactive strategy is to hope all its self-caused problems will just go away.

Just four days after the April 6 city election, Rick Brainard, one of the Chamber-backed candidates for City Council who won, was arrested for hitting his live-in girlfriend in the face hard enough to give her a black eye. In his official arrest affidavit, Brainard told police he hit her because she “needed to shut her mouth,” a comment that inflamed local citizens and galvanized public opinion against Brainard. The Daily Sentinel withdrew its endorsement of Mr. Brainard and published an op-ed recommending he vacate his Council seat. Community Hospital pushed Mr. Brainard off its board and West Star Aviation fired him from his executive job as Vice President of Business Development. Thousands of people signed an online petition titled “Woman Beating Councilmember Must Go” and citizens angrily picketed the Chamber of Commerce over its tenacious support of Mr. Brainard. When the Sentinel asked the Chamber if, despite his arrest, the organization still supported Mr. Brainard’s presence on Council, Chamber President Diane Schwenke refused to answer reporters’ calls. Instead, in true Sarah Palin style, she issued a response through the Chamber’s Facebook page:

“Mr. Brainard is entitled to due process. It sends an equally wrong message to our children to condemn without benefit of going through a process where we assume innocence until found guilty by the courts. Once that process has happened we will again review our position on Mr. Brainard.”

On May 17 Brainard pled guilty to the assault in Mesa County Court. So does the Chamber still think it is appropriate for Brainard to remain on Council?

G.J. Chamber Director Diane Schwenke’s Anti-Atheist Facebook Post

As if the Rick Brainard debacle didn’t offend enough people for the embattled Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, now Chamber president Diane Schwenke has offended the local secular community with an anti-atheist post on her personal Facebook page.  Ms. Schwenke says in her post that she finds this nasty joke “just too good not to share,” so I am sharing it with all of my readers.

Is it ever appropriate for the president of a Chamber of Commerce to attack a minority group like this? Is it more politically safe to attack atheists than it is to attack, say, Jews, Mennonites, Latinos or African Americans? To make matters worse, the G.J. Chamber continues to get public funding from the City of Grand Junction, which pays $6,325/year (updated in 2017) to be a member of the chamber at the highest level. A larger screenshot of Diane Schwenke’s Facebook Page with her joke along with her statement of affiliation with the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce can be seen here.

Post on Chamber Director Diane Schwenke's personal Facebook page takes a dig at atheists

Post on Chamber Director Diane Schwenke’s personal Facebook page takes a dig at atheists

GOP Blows it Again with “Wetbacks” Racial Slur

Republican House Rep. Don Young of Alaska

Republican House Rep. Don Young of Alaska

As Republicans struggle to find a way to increase their appeal to Latino voters and just days after Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus urged Republicans to stop saying “stupid, idiotic things” that contribute to the GOP’s demise, Veteran U.S. House Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) casually injected a racial slur about “wetbacks” into a radio interview on KRBD in Ketchican, Alaska on March 28. While discussing the economy, Young, 79, describing what life was like on his father’s California ranch, said “We used to hire 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”

The word “wetback” is a slur used to denigrate immigrant farm workers, and particularly Mexican or Mexican-American farm workers. The slur drew immediate rebuke from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the GOP leadership struggled to repair the damage. When House Speaker John Boehner demanded Young apologize, Young said he meant no disrespect and was just repeating the language of his youth. He did not, however, include an apology in his statement.

Christian Group Distributes Bibles at Public Schools, Gets Pushback

The book secularists plan to give away at Orange County, Florida high schools when they get their  date to distribute literature from the school district

The book secularists plan to give away at Orange County, Florida high schools when they get their date to distribute literature from the school district

An Orange County, Florida school district allowed the Christian group World Changers of Central Florida to distribute Bibles to high school students at eleven area high schools on January 16, 2012, by placing the books on tables near the school’s lunchroom. Orange County secularists who were offended by the overt advertisement for Christianity on public school grounds has asked the school district to change its policy to disallow distribution of religious materials on school grounds. If the school district refuses to change the policy, members of American Atheists and Central Florida Freethought Community say they will ask the school district for a date on which they can distribute information to students about atheism and humanism in the same manner.  World Changers’ mission is to promote prayer in public schools and push to have creationism taught in public schools.

Republicans’ REDMAP Strategy to Skew Future Elections in Their Favor

Voter ID wasn't enough; Republicans still tinkering with election processes to disadvantage voters on the other side

Voter ID wasn’t enough; Republicans still tinkering with election processes to disadvantage voters on the other side

Republicans, finding themselves less able to win elections on the merits of their candidates and policy positions, are continuing to tinker with election processes at the state level to disadvantage voters who disagree with their policies and dislike their candidates.  In 2010 and 2011, Republicans worked frenetically in state legislatures to pass so-called “voter ID” laws, which, just prior to the election, were officially outed as a strategy to make voting harder for the people most likely to vote against their candidates: African Americans, the elderly, the poor, students and those with disabilities. As voter ID laws were increasingly discredited and blocked by the courts, Republicans started working on a new strategy: REDMAP, short for “Redistricting Majority Project,” an effort to skew the redistricting process to assure Republicans maintain their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives even though more Democrats than Republicans are now casting ballots across the country. The GOP’s REDMAP strategy involves a plan to win control of state legislatures. Once they achieve that, they initiate an aggressive gerrymandering campaign to redraw the states’ electoral maps and create districts that are completely safe for Republicans. But beyond eliminating competitive elections in Congressional races, a new part of the GOP’s strategy is to change the rules about how the states apportion their electoral college votes. The new strategy will magnify the effect of Republican votes in the Electoral College in future elections. The GOP wants to change the current winner-take-all rule for apportioning electoral college votes to instead apportioning electoral votes based on the winner in each individual Congressional district within the state. The change would hand beleaguered Republicans a huge process advantage over Democrats. As an example, if the GOP’s hoped-for rule had been in place in Pennsylvania in the November, 2012 election, for example, Mitt Romney would have won 13 of that state’s 20 electoral college votes, even though Obama won the state with 52 percent of the popular vote.

Main Source: Huffington Post, January 17, 2012

Former GOP Officials Admit Use of “Voter ID” to Suppress Democratic Turnout

The Palm Beach Post ran a blockbuster story November 25 in which several former high-up GOP officials admitted that “Voter ID” laws and a law cutting back early voting were GOP tactics aimed at suppressing the Democratic vote in Florida. Former Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist and Jim Greer, former chair of the Florida Republican Party, both admitted that the GOP’s push to enact “Voter ID” laws out of a purported concern for voter fraud was really a ruse to block Democratic voters from the polls. Greer told the Palm Beach Post, “The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates…It’s done for one reason and one reason only.” Greer said Republican staffers and consultants told him ,”We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us.” Wayne Bertsch, who coordinated campaigns for GOP candidates for local offices, also admitted the reasons GOP officials gave for advancing voter ID laws were bogus. Crist said while he was in office as Florida’s governor, Republican Party leaders contacted him to discuss curtailing early voting hours as a way to suppress turnout among Democratic voters. Crist has since left the GOP and is now an Independent.  Greer has been indicted for using a phony campaign fundraising operation to pocket $200,000. But the Post also found another GOP-affiliated consultant, who asked not to be named who confirmed that the true purpose behind enacting voter ID and a law to cut back on early voting in Florida were meant to suppress Democratic turnout in the general election.

Source: Palm Beach Post, November 25, 2012

 

Family of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. Files $21 Million Civil Rights Lawsuit Against White Plains Police

Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.’s family (Screen capture from Democracy Now! video)

The family of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. has filed a $21 million civil rights lawsuit against the City White Plains, New York and the White Plains Police Department. Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., 68, was shot dead inside his own home in the early morning on November 19, 2011 by White Plains police after he accidentally set off his life aid medical alert pendant while sleeping. Police arrived at his apartment, but responded as though a crime was in progress instead of as if responding to potential medical emergency. The police knocked in Chamberlain’s door and demanded he open it. Chamberlain told the police he was okay, and didn’t need their help, but the police continued to pound on Chamberlain’s door, yelling racial slurs and demanding Chamberlain open the door.  Afraid, Chamberlain refused. Police then broke down Chamberlain’s door, shot him with a taser, then fired beanbags at him. Finally, White Plains Police Officer Anthony Carelli shot Chamberlain dead. Police claimed Chamberlain tried to attack them with a knife. Video from a camera on the taser gun surfaced in May, showing police breaking down Chamberlain’s door and shooting him with the taser. Chamberlain is seen standing inside his apartment, shirtless and wearing boxer shorts. The family filed the lawsuit just under two months after a Westchester County grand jury refused to indict Police Officer Anthony Carelli for the shooting.

Source: Democracy Now! July 2, 2012

PA Legislator Outs Voter ID as Strategy to Benefit Mitt Romney

A Republican legislator from Pennsylvania inadvertently confirmed what liberals have long suspected: that so-called “voter I.D.” laws are a political strategy to help Republicans win more elections.  While speaking at a meeting before the Republican State Committee in Hershey, Pennsylvania on June 23, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai proudly listed the Republican Party’s accomplishments in the state while the party controlled both the governorship and the legislature. His list included enacting a “Castle Doctrine” act (a “shoot first” law like the one George Zimmerman claimed shielded him from prosecution after killing unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin earlier this year) and regulations that make it harder for women to obtain abortions. Then Turzia added, “Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania. Done.” Democrats pounced on Turzia’s statement as evidence showing that co-called “Voter ID” laws are really a strategy to suppress liberal votes and help put Republicans in office. Republicans have long argued that requiring citizens to show photo ID at the polls is necessary to maintain the integrity of elections, but opponents point out that voter fraud is an almost non-existent problem.  In their practical implementation, voter ID laws have had the effect of wrongfully disenfranchising legitimate voters across the country, and making voting more difficult for members of discrete groups that tend to lean more Democratic, like city dwellers, students, minorities and the elderly.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 28, 2012

Cookie-Cutter News Taking Over U.S. Media Market

If your local TV news broadcasts are all starting to sound the same from channel to channel, it’s because they are. A sneaky form of media consolidation is happening all over the country called “covert consolidation” in which different local TV newscasts use the exact same stories, the same video, same scripts and the same viewpoints, but do it under different “brands.” Covert consolidation occurs when a number of TV stations in the same area are owned by a single corporate entity. Broadcasters between the multiple stations will share their news operations to save money. Covert consolidation not only circumvents Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules regarding ownership of stations, it also eliminates independent local journalism and the competition and diversity between stations that are the basis of a healthy democracy. Covert consolidation has been documented in 83 of the nation’s 210 news communities throughout the U.S. as TV stations across the country quietly merge newsrooms to cut costs — all at a time when broadcasters are already making record profits. Covert consolidation is also a factor blocking  minorities and women from owning and operating TV stations. Big media companies are using loopholes and backroom deals to get around FCC rules prohibiting media consolidation. To draw attention to the problem of covert consolidation, FreePress.org has created an interactive map showing which stations across the U.S. are consolidated, and the severity of the consolidation. FreePress also offers a free “Change the Channels” tool kit (pdf) people can download to document and record media consolidation in their areas, and instructions for  exposing covert consolidation in your own local community.

Main source: FreePress/SaveTheNews.org, May 29, 2012

R.J. Reynolds’ “Salem Black Initiative,” 1989

This 1989 R.J. Reynolds marketing report summarizes a company brainstorming session to find ways to increase sales of Salem cigarettes to African Americans. It exemplifies how marketers view a target audience and try to appeal to them, in this case to market an addictive and deadly product. The report concludes that “the best way to reach minority consumers is through their local communities.” It says,

“…the brand’s support must be seen as being backed by other blacks — not as a big white company’s tactic to sell to blacks. If Salem can become a positive contributing factor to blacks’ economic and personal well-being, it could ultimately be ‘unpatriotic to smoke anything else.”

RJR's 2004 Kool Mixx campaign featured images of rappers, DJs and dancers on cigarette packs and in ads.

The marketers say “Salem should be seen as a friend,” and suggest ways to play up the positive aspects of [young adult] black smokers and their lifestyle, listing words and fashion items from the African American community at the time:

“…fresh” “fade” (kill) “bank” (money) “hooked”(together) “chillin'” “def” (cold, funky, hard, it’s happening) “stylin'” “dis” (disrespectful) – lots of bracelets – 2-3 holes in ear (African influence) – nose studs – fades, parts, braids – thrashed jeans – micro spandex shorts – side snap warm-up suits…”